In a touching and unique tribute, family members, friends, classmates and associates from Major League Baseball gathered to remember Francis Nugent Jr., known affectionately as “Barney.”
Mr. Nugent passed away Feb. 22 after a gallant battle with cancer. He was 61.
Barney rose in his noble profession of sports medicine to become the athletic trainer with the San Francisco Giants organization. He served as a trainer in the World Series and Major League All-Star Game.
His wife, Denise, delivered a beautiful eulogy that perfectly captured the kindness and goodness of Barney’s “wonderful life.” She spoke of the many happy memories and good times they shared in their 33 years of marriage.
Freddie Petersen, a lifelong friend, said it was he who introduced Barney to Bill Linskey, a certified trainer at Rindge Tech High School. Barney went on from there to earn a graduate degree in Sports Medicine from Indiana State University.
Petersen, whose brother, Eddie, also attended the ceremony, delighted the assemblage with stories about Barney’s ascension through the ranks of professional baseball including his first stop with the Winston/Salem Red Sox, where “his salary was $500 per month plus the profits from the soda machine.”
Petersen, whose brother, Eddie, was also in attendance, said to Denise Nugent: “You were the bright, shining star in Barney’s life. Over the past several months, I witnessed how much care and love you gave him.”
Charlie Sherman, who served as president of the Chelsea High School Class of 1970 and joined a contingent of classmates honoring Barney this week, also aptly summed up the essence of Barney’s life.
“Barney was the vice president of our class and a captain of the football team” said Sherman. “When I played football my junior year, I wasn’t very good, but Barney made me feel like I really belonged.”
Added Sherman, “In later years when he was trainer for the Maine Guide in the International League, working his way to the Majors, I took my son Justin to a game and we met Barney after the game. I hadn’t seen him in years, but he took Justin into the locker room, got him autographs, and gave him a baseball and made him feel like a VIP.
“Barney reached the pinnacle of his career with the San Francisco Giants and when he attended our 25th class reunion, he was just so humble and made it seem like it was no big deal. He epitomized what being from Chelsea was all about.”
Barney, as your friend, Freddie Petersen, said at the conclusion of his thoughtful message, “We love you and miss you. Until we meet again.”